The HR 

Discover how a client's HR team integrated themselves with the IT team

A client in the customer service industry had a need to integrate their Human Resource (HR) onboarding process with other teams regarding the onboarding and off-boarding employees within the company. The primary issue was new employees had to wait weeks to get the necessary setup for them to start being productive (ex. laptop, desktop, cubicle, etc.). The next issue was when employees left the company, the client did not know what equipment needed to be returned and what permissions and accesses needed to be revoked. Finally, as the the client's HR system contained sensitive data, such as the employee's salary, the final solution needed to ensure this data was only visible to the HR team for compliance purposes.

The Objective

The primary complaint from all teams was that when new employees started, they rarely had what was required to do the jobs on day one. It was taking 2-3 weeks after their start dates for them to become productive. 

The root cause of the delays were attributed to lost communications between the various teams. The client desired a more robust way to not only communicate with the other teams, but to also track progress which is not possible with emails.

All teams involved with the process could easily become distracted by their daily tasks or lose track of work items as priorities changed. It was essential to the client that a notification and reminder strategy be put into place to assist with this and help the teams stay on top of requested work items for new employees.

By using Jira's native functionality, coupled with our customizations, the client would be able to introduce logical routing of Jira issues to the appropriate team. We'd also leverage automation rules to ensure proper notifications and follow-ups.

As the HR system and Jira are cloud-based, we can leverage existing functionality to integrate the two system in a manner that would meet the client's requirements and provide much needed value to the onboarding and off-boarding processes.

Obstacles to success

At the time of this engagement, Atlassian had not created project templates to specifically support HR teams. So our team of certified experts had to treat this as a traditional project and collect the business requirements, scope out potential solutions, test their validity, inform the client about the customizations that would be required, and present the solutions with pros and cons and obtain the clients sign-off for implementation.

The RenWare Way

The HR system the client was using was called Greenhouse. As it was an independent system designed specifically to meet HR business needs, it did not have an integration directly to Jira as both systems served two entirely different purposes. Therefore, the RenWare team had to get creative and create a non-existent solution to solve this business need.

Ultimately, the team and client settled on a simple email mechanism to avoid a custom API-based solution that would not only be more costly to develop and test, but to also maintain when each system was upgraded. The email solution, at a high-level, simply had the Greenhouse HR system generate an email when the new employee accepted their offer. Jira was monitoring an inbox created specifically for this purpose. Once it detected an email in the inbox, it parsed it and based on certain values it would generate the proper Jira tickets and subtasks. For example, a new executive's tickets and subtasks would be significantly different from a new employee that was joining a development team.

Had this engagement been done in today's Atlassian world, the team would have been able to simply create a Jira project that at least provided a foundation specific to an HR team. However, that was not available at this time so after we collected the HR team's requirements, we fully customized the Kanban template complete with custom issue types, workflows, custom fields, and screens. Other customizations specific to the hiding of sensitive information are discussed in the next section.

Our team presented the client with several cloud marketplace apps that would address their encryption requirements. However, the purchase of an app was out of scope for the project so our team was able to use the native Issue Security Scheme functionality to complete the solution. Using this native functionality, the client was able to hide issues that contained sensitive data and only allow the HR management team to view those types of issues. The default setting was to hide "all" new HR tickets so that the HR management team could triage them and determine which ones should be exposed to the other HR team members. The subtasks were then exposed to the teams outside of HR so they could perform the work they were responsible for to satisfy their part of the parent ticket.

Based on the collected use cases, our team was able to implement logic to satisfy all use cases using Automation Rules. The rules reviewed each new parent ticket and based on the values of the monitored fields, the rule would create the appropriate subtasks for the following teams: facilities, IT, and HR. These subtasks would ensure all new hires had the following items on day one: laptop and/or desktop, docking station, monitors, cubicle, phone, etc. Our solution allowed each team's tasks to be done in parallel so one team wasn't waiting for another team. Without this key implementation and subtask strategy, the system would generate a single ticket that would have to wait for each team to get done with their task as a single ticket can only be assigned to a single resource by default.

Anyone that has used Jira knows that a bad Notification Scheme configuration can lead to massive amounts of emails in your inbox. Creating email rules do not resolve this problem as hundreds of email notifications just fill up another folder. So our team worked with the client to demonstrate both an improper and proper notification strategy. The final solution sent an email notification to an email list for each team. The team would determine which resource the ticket should be assigned to and that person would move the ticket to In Progress and thus, the ticket would be automatically assigned to them. Once all subtasks were completed, the parent ticket would be automatically transitioned and notify the HR team so they could verify and close the ticket. Our team limited the emails to a single send and trained the users how to use the "mention" functionality when they needed someone's attention.

At RenWare, we do not believe in implementing half-ass solutions. Just because the customer didn't ask for it or wasn't aware they needed it is not an excuse to provide it. So our team worked with the client's IT, engineering, sales, marketing, and executive teams to define the types of hardware, access, and permissions a new employee joining their teams would receive based on their job function. After all, an engineer's needs are different from sales and marketing, which are different from an executive.

The Result

In the end, our delivery team provided the client with a solution that not only met their immediate requirements, but one that would scale and adapt as the business needs changed. The value gained was a 100% success rate--meaning all new employees were completely setup by their start date. The HR team reported in 94% of their onboarding that new employee setups were complete a week prior to the new hire's start date. The automation of ticket creation, notifications, and reminders made each responsible team happier and more enthusiastic about using Jira.

During the course of this engagement, our delivery team identified other areas that would further enhance the HR teams experience and add additional value. The team created dashboards to provide visibility and graphical views of the data, a Confluence space to capture the HR team's processes and how-to documentation, and an integration to the client's asset management system so the onboarding tickets could contain critical information about the employees equipment which made it much easier for all teams to off-board employees leaving the company.

The IT team gave our certified experts high ratings as connecting the HR and Jira systems to the asset management system was not something that was listed as a requirement. However, as previously stated, at RenWare, we do not give customers half-ass solutions. This work was done under the existing contract which the client appreciated and understood that another partner most likely would have generated a new Statement of Work (SOW) for this work. 

"As an HR executive, I am always looking for ways for my team to work more efficiently. RenWare was already engaged with us but in another department. After learning of the quality of work that RenWare was providing, I decided to meet with Lorenzo to determine if he could assist my efforts. I was pleasantly surprised when he informed me of his ideas to meet my business objectives as I was unaware that Jira Software could handle my team's needs. Not only did RenWare deliver a solution that solved all of our issues, their solution provided more than I knew I wanted. We cut costs, save a ton of time from start-to-finish with onboarding and got so much added value with off-boarding employees as well as creating our HR knowledge base. All of this without extra charges and SOW amendments. If you are looking for a quality Atlassian Solutions Partner, you should definitely consider RenWare."  - CTO and VP of HR

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